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A Background to the Study

A lot of people go to hospital for conditions that could have been treated in the care home. These avoidable hospital admissions are often for:

  • acute exacerbation of congestive heart failure
  • respiratory infections
  • urinary tract infection
  • dehydration

Hospitalisation is costly to the NHS and can be distressing to the person, their family and nursing home staff. Nursing home residents are amongst the frailest and most vulnerable members of society. Most have complex health care needs and more than two thirds have dementia. Early identification of changes in residents’ health is essential to ensure active health care in nursing homes.

There are ways to improve health care in care homes:

  • education for nurses and care assistants
  • care protocols and pathways
  • family involvement
  • support for making change happen

Nursing home staff want their residents to get timely medical and health care. They don’t like to see their residents going to hospital for conditions that could have been cared for in the home, if detected and reported earlier. We want to develop and test a complex intervention to reduce rates of avoidable hospital admissions from nursing homes.